robo signer | FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA

Tag Archive | "robo signer"

JPMorgan Chase Whistleblower: ‘Essentially Suicide’ To Stand Up To Bank

JPMorgan Chase Whistleblower: ‘Essentially Suicide’ To Stand Up To Bank


I hear what she’s saying about googling her name, because I can tell you there were a ton of “Linda Almonte” searches that lead to SFF.

She’s a hero to many.

HuffPO-

When Linda Almonte alerted her boss at JPMorgan Chase about potential fraud in a major deal she was helping to close, she expected him to applaud her great catch.

Instead, he fired her.

“We went down fast,” said Almonte, 41, about her family. She had been making $100,000 a year as a division vice president at Chase, enough to support her stay-at-home husband, their four kids, ages 12 to 22, and rent a three-bedroom house in San Antonio, Texas.

Her move at Chase amounted to “essentially suicide,” Almonte told The Huffington Post. No bank in town would hire her after word spread that she had stood up to the banking giant, she said. After more than a year of fruitless job hunting, Almonte and her family left town, landing at a hotel near Disney World, paying $300 a week for a two-bedroom with a kitchenette.

[HUFFINGTON POST]

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Linda Almonte | How a Whistleblower Halted JPMorgan Chase’s Card Collections

Linda Almonte | How a Whistleblower Halted JPMorgan Chase’s Card Collections


American Banker-

No sooner did Linda Almonte show up for work on November 30, 2009 than was she escorted out the door by security at JPMorgan Chase’s Credit Card Litigation Support Group in San Antonio. A midlevel Chase executive who oversaw business process execution employees, Almonte says she was fired after just six months on the job for challenging her superiors about the accuracy of the bank’s credit card records.

Colleagues first learned of her dismissal later in the day when operations manager Jason Lazinbat, Almonte’s former boss, gathered bank staff in a conference room and announced she was no longer with the bank. Under no circumstances, Lazinbat warned, were staffers to communicate with Almonte, recalls Carole McGinn, a quality control worker who spent 14 years at Chase. The account was confirmed by second employee, who requested to speak anonymously.

[AMERICAN BANKER]

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OCC Probing JPMorgan Chase Credit Card Collections

OCC Probing JPMorgan Chase Credit Card Collections


🙂 Credit Cards WILL BE the NEXT robo-signing scandal! 🙂

American Banker-

JPMorgan Chase & Co. took procedural shortcuts and used faulty account records in suing tens of thousands of delinquent credit card borrowers for at least two years, current and former employees say.

The process flaws sparked a regulatory probe by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and forced the bank to stop suing delinquent borrowers altogether last year.

The bank’s errors could call into question the legitimacy of billions of dollars in outstanding claims against debtors and of legal judgments Chase has already won, current and former Chase employees say.

For the banking industry at large, the situation at Chase highlights the risk that shoddy back-office procedures and flawed legal work extends well beyond mortgage servicing.

“We did not verify a single one” of the affidavits attesting to the amounts Chase was seeking to collect, says Howard Hardin, who oversaw a team handling tens of thousands of Chase debt files in San Antonio. “We were told [by superiors] ‘We’re in a hurry. Go ahead and sign them.'”

[AMERICAN BANKER]

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Banks face crisis in bungled commercial mortgages

Banks face crisis in bungled commercial mortgages


Oh yes, MERS is in this rabbit hole as well: From a 10/10 post EXCLUSIVE | NYSC COMMERCIAL (CMBS), MERS and a $65 MILLION NOTE

If this doesn’t do them in then look for the Next Robo-Signing Scandal: RePOST: CHASE BANK v. GERGIS | NY Civ. Court “ROBO-TESTIMONY, WAMU, CREDIT-CARD DEBT” Dismissed w/ PREJUDICE

Either way the banks are screwed on these as well.

CBS-

The nation’s banks are looking at a robo-signing problem with commercial real estate which may dwarf the one for home mortgages, according to a new study.

Research by Harbinger Analytics Group shows the widespread use of inaccurate, fraudulent documents for land title underwriting of commercial real estate financing. According to the report:

This fraud is accomplished through inaccurate and incomplete filings of statutorily required records (commercial land title surveys detailing physical boundaries, encumbrances, encroachments, etc.) on commercial properties in California, many other western states and possibly throughout most of the United States.

[CBS NEWS]

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RePOST: CHASE BANK v. GERGIS | NY Civ. Court “ROBO-TESTIMONY, WAMU, CREDIT-CARD DEBT” Dismissed w/ PREJUDICE

RePOST: CHASE BANK v. GERGIS | NY Civ. Court “ROBO-TESTIMONY, WAMU, CREDIT-CARD DEBT” Dismissed w/ PREJUDICE


Note: This post went missing shortly after it was on the site back in June 2011 and IMO may be a clue as to why the recent massive halts nationwide, but in reality, this began last June 🙂

This is far worse than the foreclosure fraud robo-signing scandal and they do not want this to get out of control…it’ll spell doom.

I’d also like to point you to another case that they are aware of that deserves credit: “Robo-Affidavit” Class Action Settles for $5.2 Million | MIDLAND FUNDING v. BRENT

 Decided on June 15, 2011

Civil Court of The City of New York, Kings County


Chase Bank USA, N.A.

against

Shady A. Gergis

EXCERPTS:

UNDERLYING FACTS:

For its first witness, plaintiff called Martin Lavergne, who worked for CHASE BANK USA, N.A.(“Chase”) in various roles over a period of approximately 17 years. Presently, he holds the title of “custodian of records.” While Mr. Lavergne maintained that he had personal knowledge of the practices and procedures that Chase utilized in creating and maintaining consumer credit card account records, he never described these practices and procedures and never testified as to how he acquired personal knowledge of them.

[…]

Notably, some of the records that were shown to Mr. Lavergne were apparently created by Washington Mutual Bank. Mr. Lavergne explained this by stating that at some point in time, Chase had acquired Washington Mutual Bank. No testimony was elicited from Mr. Lavergne that he had worked for Washington Mutual Bank or that he had personal knowledge of the practices and procedures that Washington Mutual Bank employed in creating and maintaining consumer credit card account records.

[…]

Here, Mr. Lavergne’s foundational testimony was essentially a verbatim recitation of the statutory elements set forth in CPLR 4518[a]. He gave absolutely no testimony as to how the electronic records concerning defendant’s account statements came into existence nor did he indicate that he even knew how such information was collected. It would appear that credit card statements contain information that is conveyed from multiple entities, from the reporting merchant through various intermediaries, until the information is ultimately incorporated into plaintiff’s business records (see Discover Bank v Williamson, 2007 NY Slip Op 50231[U] [App Term, 9th and 10th Jud Dists]). Certainly, Mr. Lavergne did not demonstrate that the person or persons who inputted the electronic data had actual knowledge of the events inputted or that such person or persons obtained knowledge of those events from someone with actual knowledge of them and who had a business duty to relay information regarding the events (see Corsi v Town of [*4]Bedford, 58 AD3d 225, 229 [2d Dept 2008]; Capasso v Kleen All of America, Inc., 43 AD3d at 1347).

[…]

Further, Mr. Lavergne’s testimony was highly suspect. As stated above, some of the records that plaintiff sought to introduce into evidence through the testimony of Mr. Lavergne were apparently prepared by Washington Mutual Bank. The foundational testimony given by Mr. Lavergne concerning these records was identical to the foundational testimony he gave concerning the Chase records. It is well settled law that in order for a witness to lay the foundation for the admission of a document as a business record pursuant to CPLR 4518[a], the witness must demonstrate personal knowledge of the business practices and procedures pursuant to which the document was made (see Reiss v Roadhouse Rest., 70 AD3d 1021, 1025 [2d Dept 2010]; Lodato v Greyhawk N. Am., LLC, 39 AD3d 494, 495 [2d Dept 2007]; Vento v City of New York, 25 AD3d 329, 330 [1st Dept 2006]; Dayanim v Unis, 171 AD2d 579 [1st Dept 1991]; Midborough Acupuncture, P.C. v New York Cent. Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 2006 NY Slip Op 51879[U] [App. Term, 2d & 11th Jud Dists]). Because Mr. Lavergne never worked for Washington Mutual Bank, it defies logic that he would have personal knowledge of Washington Mutual Bank’s business practices and procedures. For these reasons, the Court gives Mr. Lavergne’s “robo-testimony” and plaintiffs’ no weight or credit (People v Barrett, 14 AD3d 369 [1st Dept 2005]; see also Washington Mut. Bank v Phillip, 2010 NY Slip Op 52034[U] [Sup Ct, Kings County]).

[…]

In sum, the offered “robo-testimony” was insufficient to establish its case by a preponderance of the credible evidence. [*5]

Based on the above, it is hereby

ORDERED that judgment be entered in favor of defendant SHADY A. GERGIS and against plaintiff CHASE BANK USA, N.A. and that plaintiff’s complaint be DISMISSED with prejudice on the merits.

The foregoing constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court.

[ipaper docId=58601475 access_key=key-13b7jr4qpkf19xlbsusy height=600 width=600 /]

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Hawaii | RE: Tehiva/Phillips Foreclosure Eviction Scheduled 1/2/2012 via Wells Fargo, AHMSI, Sand Canyon, Duval County, FL Kathy Smith

Hawaii | RE: Tehiva/Phillips Foreclosure Eviction Scheduled 1/2/2012 via Wells Fargo, AHMSI, Sand Canyon, Duval County, FL Kathy Smith


Bank Fraud

American Home Mortgage Servicing
Sand Canyon Corporation
Kathy Smith
Soundview Home Loan Trust, 2007-OPT2
Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

Action Date: January 1, 2012
Location: Maui, HI

On January 2, 2012, Wells Fargo Bank and American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc. (“AHMSI”) will attempt to force the Tehiva/Phillips family from their family home on 5305 Hana Highway in Maui, Hawaii. This has been the family home for over 100 years.

Wells Fargo is acting as the Trustee for an RMBS Trust, Soundview Home Loan Trust 2007-OPT2. AHMSI is acting as the servicer for the trust.

Wells Fargo and AHMSI have relied on a fraudulent Mortgage Assignment in this foreclosure eviction.

The Assignment is dated June 24, 2010 and was signed by Kathy Smith in Duval County, Florida. Smith purports to be a corporate officer (Assistant Secretary) of Sand Canyon Corporation.

Kathy Smith is not and has never been employed by Sand Canyon Corporation; she is actually employed by AHMSI in its Jacksonville, FL (Duval County) office.

On Hillsborough County, FL, document 2010350478, Kathy Smith swore she was an employee of AHMSI on October 1, 2010.

On Hillsborough County, FL document 20100057228, Kathy Smith swore she was Assistant Secretary of AHMSI on February 8, 2010.

In the Memorandum Decision of the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Arizona in the matter of the bankruptcy of Anthony Tarantola, Case No. 4:09-bk-09703-EWH, Kathy Smith is referred to on Page 5, lines 8-9, as the Assistant Secretary of AHMSI.

To aid in foreclosures, Kathy Smith has used all of the following different job titles:

• Assistant Secretary and Vice President, Ameriquest Mortgage Company (February 3, 2010);

• Assistant Secretary and Vice President, Citi Residential, Inc., Attorney-in-Fact for Ameriquest Mortgage Company (April 12, 2010);

• Attorney-in-Fact, Argent Mortgage Corporation (January 13, 2010);

• Assistant Secretary, Citibank, N.A., as Trustee for American Home Mortgage Asset Trust 2006-3 Mortgage-Backed Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2006-3; (January 13, 2010);

• Assistant Secretary, Deutsche Bank National Trust Company as Indenture Trustee for American Home Mortgage Investment Trust 2006-3, Mortgage-Backed Notes, Series 2006-3 (January 13, 2010);

• Attorney-in-Fact, New Century Mortgage Corporation (January 19, 2010);

• Assistant Secretary, Sand Canyon Corporation f/k/a Option One Mortgage Corporation (April 12, 2010)

• Assistant Secretary, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., as Nominee for American Brokers Conduit (February 25, 2010);

• Assistant Secretary, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., as Nominee for American Home Mortgage (February 18, 2010);

• Assistant Secretary, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., as Nominee for American Home Mortgage Acceptance (January 25, 2010);

• Assistant Secretary, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., as Nominee for Beazer Mortgage Corporation (January 13, 2010);

• Assistant Secretary, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., as Nominee for HomeBanc Mortgage Corporation (January 11, 2010); and

• Assistant Secretary, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., as Nominee for Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corporation (May 7, 2010).

The President of Sand Canyon Corporation, Dale M. Sugimoto, submitted a sworn Declaration signed on March 18, 2009, stating that Sand Canyon Corporation did not own or service any residential real estate mortgages. Despite this sworn statement of the company president, the Assignment in the Tehiva/Phillips foreclosure has Kathy Smith, purporting to act as an officer of Sand Canyon, to transfer the Tehiva/Phillips mortgage to the Soundview Trust. The Sugimoto Declaration was submitted in bankruptcy court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, New Orleans Division, as document 52-3, in the case of Ron Wilson, Case No. 10-51328.

Kathy Smith is also not listed as an officer of Sand Canyon Corporation in the Florida corporate records, nor did Sand Canyon have offices in Florida, where the Assignment was notarized.

The closing date of the Soundview Trust 2007-OPT2 was July 10, 2007. The trust was not authorized to acquire mortgages after this date; and certainly was not authorized to ever acquire any non-performing mortgages.

For all of the reasons set forth above, Wells Fargo and AHMSI should immediately cease their attempts to seize the Tehiva/Phillips home. Wells Fargo should be required to produce Kathy Smith in court in Hawaii and to produce the records of the trust showing that the trust acquired the Tehiva/Phillips mortgage in 2010 as represented by Smith.

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HURRICANE CHERYL DESTROYS LAND RECORDS IN PALM BEACH COUNTY

HURRICANE CHERYL DESTROYS LAND RECORDS IN PALM BEACH COUNTY


Bank Fraud

Docx, LLC
Law Offices of David Stern
Lender Processing Services
Cheryl Samons

Action Date: October 24, 2011
Location: West Palm Beach, FL

HURRICANE CHERYL DESTROYS LAND RECORDS IN PALM BEACH COUNTY

In the six month period from September 1, 2008 through February 28, 2009, 502 mortgage assignments, signed by Cheryl Samons, were filed in the official records of Palm Beach County, FL.

Samons was the office manager for the Law Offices of David J. Stern, but she signed as a MERS officer.

Mortgage-backed trusts were the primary beneficiary of these Samons Assignments.

Mortgage Assignments Signed by Cheryl Samons Filed in Palm Beach County from September, 2008, through February, 2009:

September, 2008: 75
October, 2008: 125
November: 2008: 56
December, 2008: 85
January, 2009: 101
February, 2009: 60

Multiplied by three, in the 18-month period from July 4, 2008 though January 4, 2009, Samons is likely to have signed 1,506 Assignments.

This is the same 18-month period that 1,742 Docx Assignments were being filed in Palm Beach County. These had a stated mortgage value of $560,239,797 or an average mortgage value of $321,607 per assignment.

Samons Palm Beach County assignments filed from July 4, 2008 through January 4, 2009 have an estimated value of $484,340,182, nearly half a billion dollars.

This does not include the assignments signed by other Stern employees, associate Beth Cerni or paralegal Carol Wasserman.

The combined value of mortgages, primarily transferred to mortgage-backed trusts, for one county for one 18-month period: $1,044,579,939.

While Docx Assignments were only filed for 18 months in Palm Beach County, Samons assignments appeared regularly from 2007 through 2010.

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IN RE CHALGREN, Bankr. Court, ND California “Lender Processing Services admits faults in the documents produced by the DOCX office”

IN RE CHALGREN, Bankr. Court, ND California “Lender Processing Services admits faults in the documents produced by the DOCX office”


NOTE: Korell Harp misspelled, also see signature variations below.

In re: RICHARD AND KAREN CHALGREN, Chapter 13, Debtors.
RICHARD AND KAREN CHALGREN, Plaintiffs,
v.
DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY, ET AL., Defendants.

Case No. 09-56729 ASW, Adv. Proc. No. 10-5057.
United States Bankruptcy Court, N.D. California.
October 7, 2011.

MEMORANDUM DECISION ON MOTIONS TO DISMISS

ARTHUR S. WEISSBRODT, Bankruptcy Judge.

Before this Court are two motions to dismiss the First Amended Complaint of debtors Richard Scott Chalgren and Karen Chalgren (” Plaintiffs”). For the following reasons, this Court grants Defendants’ motions with leave to amend with regard to the first, second, third, and sixth causes of action. This Court denies Defendants’ motions to dismiss with regard to the fifth cause of action and grants the motions in part with regard to the fourth cause of action.

This Memorandum Decision constitutes the Court’s findings of fact and conclusions of law, pursuant to Rule 7052 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure.

A. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiffs initiated this adversary proceeding on February 25, 2010. On July 27, 2010, defendants American Home Mortgage Corp. d/b/a American Brokers Conduit and AHM SV, Inc. f/k/a American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc. filed a Suggestion of Bankruptcy in this adversary proceeding. Prior motions to dismiss were granted in part and denied in part at a hearing on September 20, 2010. Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on November 2, 2010 (“First Amended Complaint”). The First Amended Complaint alleges six causes of action. The first cause of action is for violation of California Civil Code section 2923.5. The second cause of action is for violation of Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, 12 U.S.C. §§ 2601-2617 (“RESPA”). The third cause of action is for violation of the automatic stay of the Bankruptcy Code. The fourth cause of action is for declaratory relief. The fifth cause of action is for injunctive relief. The sixth cause of action is for cancellation of the deed of trust and other instruments and records.

On November 16, 2010, Defendants Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, Deutsche Bank National Trust Company as Trustee of the GSR Mortgage Loan Trust 2006-OA1 (“Deutsche Bank as Trustee”), and American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc. (“AHMSI”) filed a motion to dismiss the First Amended Complaint (“First Motion to Dismiss”). On November 29, 2010, Defendants Fidelity National Title Company and Default Resolution Network filed a motion to dismiss the First Amended Complaint (“Second Motion to Dismiss”).

The First Motion to Dismiss asserts that Plaintiffs’ response to the First Motion to Dismiss should not be considered by this Court because the response is late-filed, and that Plaintiffs have failed to meet the pleading requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). Both motions to dismiss also allege that the First Amended Complaint should be dismissed on the merits for various reasons.

Regarding the purported late-filing of Plaintiffs’ response to the First Motion to Dismiss, the hearing on the First Motion to Dismiss was originally set for December 16, 2010, meaning that Plaintiffs’ response should have been filed by December 2, 2010. No such response was filed. On December 6, 2010, Plaintiffs filed an opposition to a motion for relief from stay with a caption containing this adversary proceeding’s number. On December 10, 2010, pursuant to an amended notice of hearing, the hearing on the First Motion to Dismiss was continued to January 14, 2011. Plaintiffs’ response was filed on December 30, 2010, which is timely under the local rules with respect to the continued hearing date. While Plaintiffs should abide in the future with the deadlines set out in the local rules, there is no prejudice such that the First Amended Complaint should be dismissed and the merits of Plaintiffs’ opposition ignored.

In Plaintiff’s opposition filed on December 30, 2010, Plaintiffs agreed to amend the First Amended Complaint with regard to the first, second, and third causes of action in response to the motions of defendants Fidelity National Title Company, Default Resolution Network, Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, Deutsche Bank as Trustee, and AHMSI (collectively,” Defendants”), as well as to delete the sixth cause of action. The Court held a hearing on both motions to dismiss on January 14, 2011.

At the hearing on January 14, 2011, the Court provided the parties with the Suggestion of Bankruptcy filed by American Brokers Conduit and American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc. in this adversary proceeding and asked the parties to submit supplemental briefs regarding why the motions to dismiss should proceed notwithstanding the automatic stay of the bankruptcy case of Defendant American Brokers Conduit. The matter was continued to March 1, 2011 with the parties to file a joint statement prior to the hearing.

On February 18, 2011, the parties filed a joint statement which the Court reviewed. The Court subsequently issued an order on February 23, 2011 taking the motions to dismiss off calendar without prejudice to being restored upon the filing of appropriate legal authority and/or declarations showing that this Court can proceed notwithstanding the automatic stay in Defendant American Brokers Conduit’s bankruptcy case.

On May 2, 2011, Plaintiffs dismissed American Brokers Conduit from this adversary proceeding. The motions to dismiss were re-set for hearing on June 30, 2011 at a Case Management Conference held on May 6, 2011. The June 30, 2011 hearing was continued to July 14, 2011 by stipulation of the parties. The July 14, 2011 hearing was taken off calendar to allow the Court to issue a written decision.

Meanwhile, on May 18, 2011, attorney Mitchell Abdallah substituted in as counsel for Plaintiffs.

On July 11, 2011, Plaintiffs filed a Second Amended Complaint.[1] The Second Amended Complaint named American Brokers Conduit as a defendant and did not make any substantive changes to the third, fourth, or sixth causes of action that Plaintiffs had said would be made. The Court suggests that if Plaintiffs file another amended complaint, Plaintiffs should consider that it appears to the Court that the bankruptcy case of American Brokers Conduit, case number 07-11051, is still pending in the District of Delaware. Plaintiffs should also consider that: (1) a cause of action under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, 12 U.S.C. §§ 2601-2617 (” RESPA”) should specify which section(s) of RESPA Defendants allegedly violated; and (2) Plaintiffs should allege sufficient facts about the contents of Plaintiffs’ alleged letters to AHMSI to show that the letters qualify as “qualified written requests” under RESPA.

B. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The following facts are drawn from the First Amended Complaint, as alleged by Plaintiffs, but have not yet been proven. On or about April 4, 2006, Plaintiffs obtained a home loan and executed a promissory note in favor of American Brokers Conduit. The note was secured by a deed of trust on 411 Quail Run in Aptos, California (the “Property”). Defendant Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (“MERS”) was listed as the beneficiary of the deed of trust, but MERS never held the note.

On February 1, 2009, Plaintiff Richard Chalgren became unable to work due to a physical disability and suffered a loss of income. Plaintiffs were unable to make the monthly payment on the note. Plaintiffs wrote letters to the loan servicer, AHMSI, requesting the name, address, and telephone number of the holder of the note and the name and address of any agent of the holder of the note which could discuss loan modification options with Plaintiffs. However, AHMSI did not respond to Plaintiffs’ letters and still, to this day, has failed to respond to Plaintiffs’ letters. The failure of AHMSI to respond caused Plaintiffs to suffer emotional distress.

On May 5, 2009, AHMSI, Default Resolution Network, and Fidelity National Title Company acted in concert to cause a notice of default to be recorded in the official records of the county of Santa Cruz. The notice of default falsely stated that Default Resolution Network had contacted Plaintiffs before the notice of default was recorded as required by California Civil Code section 2923.5.

On June 25, 2009, MERS as nominee for defendant American Brokers Conduit assigned the deed of trust to Deutsche Bank as Trustee. Kolrell Harper signed this document on June 30, 2009 as Vice President of MERS. The assignment was produced by defendant DOCX, LLC which is a subsidiary of defendant Lender Processing Services. Lender Processing Services has admitted that there were faults in the documents produced by the DOCX office and Plaintiffs are informed and believe that there was widespread document fraud.

The note was bundled into a pool of home mortgages which were securitized and sold to investors. At the time the note was assigned to the trust, the trust was closed. Also, at the time of the assignment, American Brokers Conduit was in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding, but the assignment was made without approval from the bankruptcy court overseeing the American Brokers Conduit bankruptcy case.

On July 6, 2009, an instrument was recorded in the official records of the county of Santa Cruz purporting to be an assignment of the deed of trust from MERS to Deutsche Bank National Trust Company.

On July 17, 2009, Plaintiffs sent demand letters via certified mail to Defendants pursuant to RESPA, wherein Plaintiffs requested the name of the holder of the note or the agent for such holder with authority to discuss loan modifications. Defendants have failed to respond to those demand letters, causing Plaintiffs to be unable to communicate with anyone with the authority to modify Plaintiffs’ loan and threatening Plaintiffs with the loss of Plaintiffs’ home of 15 years.

On August 14, 2009, Plaintiffs filed this chapter 13 bankruptcy petition.

On September 4, 2009, defendants Fidelity National Title Company, AHMSI, and Power Default Services acted in concert to cause a notice of trustee’s sale to be recorded in the official records of the county of Santa Cruz in violation of the automatic stay. This recordation caused Plaintiffs emotional distress.

C. LEGAL STANDARD

The Ninth Circuit has stated that the standard of review for motions to dismiss is:

The nature of dismissal requires us to accept all allegations of fact in the complaint as true and construe them in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs. However we are not required to accept as true conclusory allegations which are contradicted by documents referred to in the complaint, and we do not . . . necessarily assume the truth of legal conclusions merely because they are cast in the form of factual allegations.

Warren v. Fox Family Worldwide, Inc., 328 F.3d 1136, 1139 (9th Cir. 2003) (citations and internal quotations omitted).

D. ANALYSIS

The First Motion to Dismiss asserts that the First Amended Complaint fails to differentiate between Defendants in violation of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 (a), as incorporated by Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 7008. The Court has reviewed the First Amended Complaint and has determined that the First Amended Complaint identifies the transactions giving rise to the causes of action and puts each Defendant on notice of each Defendant’s alleged conduct. The First Motion to Dismiss is denied on this basis.

(1) Plaintiffs’ First Cause of Action

The first cause of action is against AHMSI, Default Resolution Network, and Fidelity National Title Company for violation of California Civil Code section 2923.5. Plaintiffs assert that Default Resolution Network did not contact Plaintiffs about alternatives to foreclosure prior to recording the notice of trustee’s sale. The First Amended Complaint only requests damages for this statutory violation.

The First Motion to Dismiss asserts that Plaintiffs need to allege tender before obtaining a postponement of the foreclosure sale. However, the case of Mabry v. Superior Court, 185 Cal. App. 4th 208, 214 (2010), relied on by Defendants, explicitly held that tender was not required to postpone a foreclosure sale under California Civil Code section 2923.5. Mabry, 185 Cal. App. 4th at 213. In any event, Plaintiffs are only required to allege that Plaintiffs attempted to tender — or were capable of tendering — the value of the property, or that such equitable circumstances existed that conditioning rescission on any tender would be inappropriate. Mangindin v. Washington Mutual Bank, 637 F. Supp. 2d 700, 706 (N.D. Cal. 2009).

However, as conceded by Plaintiffs, the remedy for a violation of California Civil Code section 2923.5 is not damages, but a postponement of the foreclosure sale to allow such communications to take place. Mabry, 185 Cal. App. 4th at 214. Because the requested damages are not available, this Court dismisses this cause of action with leave to amend.

(2) Second Cause of Action

The second cause of action is against AHMSI for violation of RESPA for failure to respond to Plaintiffs’ letters requesting information relating to the identity of the holder of the note and such holder’s authorized agent. Plaintiffs have not provided copies of the letters to this Court. The First Motion to Dismiss asserts that Plaintiffs need to specify which section of RESPA AHMSI allegedly violated, and Plaintiffs have indicated, in Plaintiffs’ opposition to that motion, that Plaintiffs plan to specify 12 U.S.C. section 2605(f)(1) in any amended complaint.

While the First Motion to Dismiss asserts that the First Amended Complaint fails to allege damages caused by AHMSI’s failure to respond, the First Amended Complaint’s statement of facts alleges that the failure of AHMSI to respond caused Plaintiffs great emotional distress. This Court notes that the courts are divided on whether emotional distress damages are recoverable under section 2605(f)(1). Compare Allen v. United Financial Mortg. Corp., 660 F. Supp. 2d 1089, 1097 (N.D. Cal. 2009), with Espinoza v. Recontrust Co., N.A., 2010 WL 2775753, *4 (S.D. Cal. July 13, 2010). However, this Court will not decide this legal issue at the pleading stage. Therefore, the cause of action is not dismissed on this basis.

The First Motion to Dismiss also asserts that Plaintiffs’ letters do not qualify as “Qualified Written Requests” under RESPA. The statute defines a Qualified Written Request as either (1) a letter saying that the account is in error, or (2) a letter requesting other information. 12 U.S.C. § 2605(e)(1)(b). The RESPA statute provides that a response is required when the letter requests information relating to the servicing of the loan. 12 U.S.C. § 2605(e) (1) (a). Servicing is defined as: “receiving any scheduled periodic payments from a borrower pursuant to the terms of any loan, . . . and making the payments of principal and interest and such other payments with respect to the amounts received from the borrower as may be required pursuant to the terms of the loan.” 12 U.S.C. § 2605(i).

While the First Motion to Dismiss asserts that Plaintiffs must allege that the letters stated that the account was in error, the statute defining what constitutes a Qualified Written Response is written in the disjunctive, and Plaintiffs have asserted that the letters contained requests for other information. This Court agrees with United States District Judge Fogel’s reading of 12 U.S.C. § 2605(e)(1)(b) found in Luciw v. Bank of America, N.A., 2010 WL 3958715, *3 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 7, 2010), which holds that a letter can be a Qualified Written Request even if the letter does not state that the account is in error. The Court notes that the statute does not clearly state that a letter is not a Qualified Written Response if the letter requests information both about the servicing of the loan and information not related to the servicing of the loan. Luciw, 2010 WL 3958715 at *3.

However, the First Amended Complaint fails to allege sufficient facts about the contents of the letters to show that Plaintiffs’ letters were related to the servicing of the loan such as to give rise to a statutory obligation by AHMSI to respond. The First Amended Complaint alleges that the letters request the identity of the holder of the note or such holder’s agent, which does not appear to relate to the receipt or application by AHMSI of periodic payments received from Plaintiffs. While Plaintiffs’ December 6, 2010 opposition to a motion for relief from stay provides a copy of the letter sent by Plaintiffs to Defendants, the Court is not considering that letter at this time because the letter was not incorporated into the First Amended Complaint.

The Court dismisses the second cause of action with leave to amend.

(3) Third Cause of Action

The third cause of action is against Fidelity National Title Company and AHMSI for violation of the automatic stay pursuant to Bankruptcy Code section 362(k). While the Second Motion to Dismiss asserts that this cause of action should be dismissed for failure to allege conduct rising to a requisite level of outrageousness, the determination of outrageousness is a factual issue, and the case relied upon in the Second Motion to Dismiss is a California state law case not involving Bankruptcy Code section 362(k).

However, both motions to dismiss assert that the First Amended Complaint fails to allege that the two defendants willfully violated the automatic stay. Bankruptcy Code section 362(k) clearly requires a willful violation. In re Bloom, 875 F.2d 224, 227 (9th Cir. 1989). The First Amended Complaint contains no allegations of willfulness and/or knowledge of the bankruptcy case on the part of Fidelity National Title Company and/or AHMSI, and Plaintiffs have indicated that Plaintiffs plan to amend the First Amended Complaint to so allege. The Court dismisses the third cause of action with leave to amend.

(4) Fourth Cause of Action

The fourth cause of action is against all Defendants for declaratory relief. The First Amended Complaint requests the following declaratory relief: (1) a finding that the deed of trust is unenforceable because the deed of trust was severed from the note, rendering the note unsecured; (2) a finding that the notice of default is void because the deed of trust was unenforceable; (3) a finding that assignment of the deed of trust to Deutsche Bank as Trustee is of no effect because the assignment was (a) made while American Brokers Conduit was in bankruptcy and (b) made after the securitized trust had closed; and (4) a finding that the notice of trustee’s sale is void for being in violation of the automatic stay. This cause of action does not request that the note and deed of trust be rescinded or otherwise set aside.

Both motions to dismiss assert that the fourth cause of action must be dismissed because the First Amended Complaint fails to allege that Plaintiffs either have tendered, or can tender, the amount of the outstanding loan balance. All but one of the cases cited by Defendants are cases in which a party requested quiet title or declaratory relief rescinding a loan contract, and those cases are not applicable.

The reasoning of Chavez v. Recontrust Co., 2008 WL 5210893 (E.D. Cal. Dec. 11, 2008), is not disposative here and this Court does not agree with it in any event. In Chavez, a plaintiff requested — among other things — an injunction against a foreclosure sale without either alleging that the plaintiff had tendered, or was able to tender, the amount outstanding on the loan. The Chavez court held: “[t]he law is long-established that a trustor or his successor must tender the obligation in full as a prerequisite to challenge of the foreclosure sale.” Chavez, 2008 WL 5210893 at *6 (quoting U.S. Cold Storage v. Great Western Savings & Loan Assn., 165 Cal. App. 3d 1214, 1222, (1985)). The quoted language is inapposite because the language of U.S. Cold Storage refers to an attempt to undo a foreclosure sale after the fact, rather than a request for declaratory relief based on a finding that a foreclosure sale cannot proceed because the wrong party is seeking to foreclose.

In the context of Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”) violations, Judge Ware has held that the Ninth Circuit “gives a trial court discretion to condition rescission on a tender by the borrower of the property, or the property’s reasonable value, to the lender. Yamamoto v. Bank of New York, 329 F.3d 1167, 1171 (9th Cir. 2003). Mangindin, 637 F. Supp. 2d at 705-06. Judge Ware stated:

Notably absent from Plaintiffs’ Complaint is any allegation that they attempted to tender, or are capable of tendering, the value of the property pursuant to the rescission framework established by TILA. Nor do Plaintiffs allege that such equitable circumstances exist that conditioning rescission on any tender would be inappropriate. Thus, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have failed to adequately allege that they are entitled to rescission under TILA.

Mangindin, 637 F. Supp. 2d at 706. Thus, Plaintiffs are only required to allege that Plaintiffs attempted to tender — or were capable of tendering — the value of the property, or that such equitable circumstances existed that conditioning rescission on any tender would be inappropriate.

The First Motion to Dismiss also asserts that the California nonjudicial foreclosure statutes do not require a foreclosing lender to produce the original copy of the note in order to foreclose. However, the First Amended Complaint does not request declaratory relief based on a finding that a foreclosure cannot take place because no party holds an original copy of the note. The First Amended Complaint seeks declaratory relief regarding whether the note is secured; whether the assignment of the note is of any legal effect; and whether the notice of trustee’s sale is void.

The First Motion to Dismiss next asserts that the First Amended Complaint fails to allege with sufficient specificity that the purported transfer of the note from American Brokers Conduit took place while American Brokers Conduit was a debtor in a bankruptcy proceeding. The First Amended Complaint clearly alleges that: “at the time of the assignment, American Broker’s Conduit was in a bankruptcy proceeding under chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Plaintiffs are informed and believe that the bankruptcy court did not authorize or approve the assignment of the deed of trust. . . .” First Amended Complaint at page 6, ¶ 20. This allegation is more than a mere threadbare recital and is sufficient to withstand this motion to dismiss. Therefore, the cause of action is not dismissed on this basis.

The First Motion to Dismiss asserts that American Brokers Conduit transferred the note and deed of trust on June 5, 2006 and provides a copy of a loan history for the property. This Court will not take judicial notice of the copy at this time because Plaintiffs have objected to the admissibility of this document and the copy was not part of an official record or court decision.

The First Motion to Dismiss also argues that — even if the deed of trust was transferred out of the bankruptcy estate of American Brokers Conduit without bankruptcy court approval — Plaintiffs have no standing to challenge the transfer. Plaintiffs assert that Plaintiffs have standing because the legal effect of the transfer directly affects Defendants’ ability to foreclose on Plaintiffs’ home. American Brokers Conduit filed for relief under chapter 11 as case number 07-11047 in the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Bankruptcy Code section 1109(b) provides: “a party in interest . . . may raise and may appear and be heard on any issue in a case under this chapter.” 11 U.S.C. § 1109(b). The term party in interest is meant to be elastic, and whether a party is a party in interest is determined by the facts of the case. In re Amatex Corp., 755 F.2d 1034, 1042 (3d Cir. 1985). The First Amended Complaint clearly alleges that Plaintiffs have a very practical stake in the legal effectiveness of the transfer of the deed of trust. At least insofar as Plaintiffs seek to challenge that transfer, Plaintiffs’ interest in the American Brokers Conduit bankruptcy proceeding is sufficient to make Plaintiffs a party in interest.

The First Motion to Dismiss further asserts that, even if the assignment took place after American Brokers Conduit filed for bankruptcy, the assignment was in the ordinary course of business and did not require bankruptcy court approval. Under these circumstances, any assignment would be valid. 11 U.S.C. § 363(c)(1). The First Amended Complaint only alleges that the assignment was made when American Broker’s Conduit was in bankruptcy and that there was no authorization from the bankruptcy court, which is only required if the assignment was made outside of the ordinary course of business. Because the First Amended Complaint fails to allege that the assignment was not in the ordinary course of business, this Court dismisses the fourth cause of action with leave to amend with respect to the fact that the assignment from American Brokers Conduit was invalid as an unauthorized post-petition transfer from a bankruptcy debtor.

Finally, the First Motion to Dismiss asserts that the First Amended Complaint must be dismissed because Plaintiffs’ bad faith — as evidenced by Plaintiffs’ failure to tender or to make post-petition payments on the note — estops Plaintiffs from seeking equitable relief. However, the issue of Plaintiffs’ bad faith is a factual issue which this Court will not decide at the motion to dismiss stage. Also, as previously mentioned, this Court does not hold — and leaves for trial, a possible summary judgment motion or other context — Defendants’ contention that alleging tender in the particular manner that Defendants say is mandatory is a requirement to obtaining the declaratory relief sought in Plaintiffs’ First Amended Complaint. Mangindin, 637 F. Supp. 2d at 706.

For the above reasons, this Court dismisses the fourth cause of action with leave to amend only insofar as the fourth cause of action requests a finding that the assignment from American Brokers Conduit was without legal effect for being an unauthorized post-petition transfer from a bankruptcy debtor.

(5) Fifth Cause of Action

The fifth cause of action is against all Defendants for injunctive relief. Plaintiffs request an injunction against a foreclosure sale of the property. Both motions to dismiss assert that this cause of action should be dismissed because injunctive relief cannot be granted without the existence of a substantive cause of action. Shell Oil Co. v. Richter, 52 Cal. App. 2d 164, 168 (Cal. App. 1942). The First Amended Complaint has adequately pled a substantive cause of action for declaratory relief, so the motions to dismiss are denied as to the fifth cause of action.

(6) Sixth Cause of Action

The sixth cause of action is against all Defendants for cancellation of the deed of trust and other instruments and records. In Plaintiffs’ responses to both motions to dismiss, Plaintiffs have agreed to delete the sixth cause of action from future amended complaints based on Defendants’ arguments. Because, as noted earlier, Plaintiffs could allege that Plaintiffs attempted to tender — or were capable of tendering — the value of the property, or that such equitable circumstances exist that conditioning rescission on any tender would be inappropriate, this Court dismisses the sixth cause of action with leave to amend.

E. CONCLUSION

For the forgoing reasons, Defendants’ motions are granted in part with leave to amend and denied in part. Counsel for each set of moving parties shall prepare a form of order consistent with this ruling and submit the proposed order to the Court after service on counsel for Plaintiffs. The Court prefers for all counsel to sign off on the form of order.

[1] Defendants oppose Plaintiffs’ filing of the Second Amended Complaint. Plaintiffs filed the Second Amended Complaint without leave from the Court or consent from Defendants as required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 15(a)(2), incorporated by Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure Rule 7015. The Court is deciding these motions to dismiss as to the First Amended Compliant only, and not as to the Second Amended Complaint.

Various Signatures of Korell Harp

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Robo-Signing Scandal Hits Allen County, IN Recorder John McGauley’s Personal Residence

Robo-Signing Scandal Hits Allen County, IN Recorder John McGauley’s Personal Residence


_Hmmm good reason for each & every county recorder to examine his/hers private residences don’t you think?

It’s a great time for everyone!

 

Journal Gazette-

FORT WAYNE – Allen County Recorder John McGauley knew property documents with suspect signatures were prevalent. After all, there were so many that a year ago the nation’s largest banks had to halt foreclosures to deal with the sea of paperwork that could not be trusted.

The problem was so big it spawned a new word to describe it: “robo-signing,” meaning offices filled with low-paid workers signing documents they had never read, documents they were not qualified to sign and often signing someone else’s name.

Still, McGauley was surprised to hear that robo-signing was not limited to foreclosure documents but was being found on thousands of homeownership documents having nothing to do with seized homes.

[THE JOURNAL GAZETTE]

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Jeffrey Stephan, the first bank employee outed as a “robo-signer,” still works at GMAC (not as a robo-signer)

Jeffrey Stephan, the first bank employee outed as a “robo-signer,” still works at GMAC (not as a robo-signer)


For some these are documents and for others it represents families.

 

WSJ-

GMAC Mortgage LLC, the mortgage servicer that vaulted “robo-signing” into the headlines, says it has overhauled its foreclosure procedures.

The unit of Ally Financial Inc. has put each employee who works on foreclosures through an additional 40 hours of training, testing them on what they learned. Outside law firms that handle foreclosures for GMAC must answer questions about their own practices and are subject to on-site reviews.

The changes came after GMAC employee Jeffrey Stephan said in a deposition last year that he had signed off on as many as 10,000 foreclosure documents without proper review.

[WALL STREET JOURNAL]

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LEVITIN | Standing to Invoke PSAs as a Foreclosure Defense

LEVITIN | Standing to Invoke PSAs as a Foreclosure Defense


Make sure you catch who signed the assignment of mortgage down below… but ERICA JOHNSON-SECK!

Credit Slips

A major issue arising in foreclosure defense cases is the homeowner’s ability to challenge the foreclosing party’s standing based on noncompliance with securitization documentation. Several courts have held that there is no standing to challenge standing on this basis, most recently the 1st Circuit BAP in Correia v. Deutsche Bank Nat’l Trust Company. (See Abigail Caplovitz Field’s cogent critique of that ruling here.) The basis for these courts’ rulings is that the homeowner isn’t a party to the PSA, so the homeowner has no standing to raise noncompliance with the PSA.

I think that view is plain wrong.  It fails to understand what PSA-based foreclosure defenses are about and to recognize a pair of real and cognizable Article III interests of homeowners:  the right to be protected against duplicative claims and the right to litigate against the real party in interest because of settlement incentives and abilities.

[CREDIT SLIPS]

ERICA JOHNSON-SECK

INDYMAC FED. BANK FSB v. GARCIA | NYSC Vacates Default JDGMT “Robo-Signer, Fraudulent Erica Johnson-Seck Affidavit”

Full Deposition Of ERICA JOHNSON SECK Former Fannie Mae, WSB Employee

[NYSC] Judge Finds Issues With “NOTE AMOUNTS”, Robo Signer “ROGER STOTTS” Affidavit: ONEWEST v. GARCIA

[NYSC] JUDGE SCHACK TAKES ON ROBO-SIGNER ERICA JOHNSON SECK: DEUTSCHE BANK v. MARAJ (1) (64.591)

[NYSC] JUDGE SCHACK TAKES ON ROBO-SIGNER ERICA JOHNSON SECK: DEUTSCHE BANK v. HARRIS (2) (70.24)

[NYSC] JUDGE SCHACK TAKES ON ROBO-SIGNER ERICA JOHNSON SECK: ONEWEST BANK v. DRAYTON (3)

Wall Street Journal: Foreclosure? Not So Fast

ONEWEST BANK ‘ERICA JOHNSON-SECK’ ‘Not more than 30 seconds’ to sign each foreclosure document

INDYMAC’S/ONEWEST FORECLOSURE ‘ROBO-SIGNERS’ SIGNED 24,000 MORTGAGE DOCUMENTS MONTHLY

WM_Deposition_of_Erica_Johnson-Seck_Part_I

Deposition_of_Erica_Johnson-Seck_Part_II

Thank you to Mike Dillon for pointing and providing this crucial piece below

[ipaper docId=61704717 access_key=key-16i71qddg7jbehlsos7g height=600 width=600 /]

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Internal Doc Reveals GMAC Filed False Document in Bid to Foreclose

Internal Doc Reveals GMAC Filed False Document in Bid to Foreclose


by Paul Kiel
ProPublica, July 27, 2011, 1:07 p.m.

GMAC, one of the nation’s largest mortgage servicers, faced a quandary last summer. It wanted to foreclose on a New York City homeowner but lacked the crucial paperwork needed to seize the property.

GMAC has a standard solution to such problems, which arise frequently in the post-bubble economy. Its employees secure permission to create and sign documents in the name of companies that made the original loans. But this case was trickier because the lender, a notorious subprime company named Ameriquest, had gone out of business in 2007.

And so GMAC, which was bailed out by taxpayers [1] in 2008, began looking for a way to craft a document that would pass legal muster, internal records obtained by ProPublica [2]show.

“The problem is we do not have signing authority—are there any other options?” Jeffrey Stephan, the head of GMAC’s “Document Execution” team, wrote to another employee and the law firm pursuing the foreclosure action [2]. No solutions were offered.

Three months later, GMAC had an answer. It filed a document with New York City authorities [3] that said the delinquent Ameriquest loan had been assigned to it “effective of” August 2005. The document [3] was dated July 7, 2010, three years after Ameriquest had ceased to exist and was signed by Stephan, who was identified as a “Limited Signing Officer” for Ameriquest Mortgage Company. Soon after, GMAC filed for foreclosure.

An examination by ProPublica suggests this transaction was not unique. A review of court records in New York identified hundreds of similar assignment documents filed in the name of Ameriquest after 2008 by GMAC and other mortgage servicers.

Get ProPublica’s stories delivered to your inbox [4]

The issue has attracted growing scrutiny in recent months as bloggers [5], consumer attorneys and media outlets [6] have identified what appears to be part of a pattern of questionable assignments filed across the country.

GMAC, which is still majority owned by the government, was at the center of what became known as the robo-signing scandal [7]. The uproar began last fall after revelations that mortgage servicing employees had produced flawed documents to speed foreclosures [8]. GMAC and other banks have acknowledged filing false affidavits in which bank officials claimed “personal knowledge” of the facts underlying thousands of mortgages. But GMAC and other servicers say they’ve since tightened their procedures. They insist that their records were largely accurate and the affidavits amounted to errors of form, not substance.

The issues surrounding the Ameriquest loan and others like it appear to be more serious.

“This assignment of mortgage has all of the markings of GMAC finding that it lacked a needed mortgage assignment in order to foreclose and just making it up,” said Thomas Cox, a Maine foreclosure defense attorney.

In New York, it’s a felony to file a public record with “intent to deceive.”

“It’s fraud,” said Linda Tirelli, a consumer bankruptcy attorney. “I want to know who’s going to do a perp walk for recording this.”

No criminal charges have been filed in the robo-signing cases.

Asked by ProPublica about the document, GMAC acknowledged Stephan did not have authority to sign on behalf of Ameriquest. The bank said it is still planning to push ahead with foreclosure on the homeowner, who remains in the property.

Company spokeswoman Gina Proia said an internal review last fall into “suspected documentation execution issues” had flagged the loan as problematic and that GMAC is “determining what needs to be done in order to receive the necessary authorization.”

“We will determine and complete the necessary steps to remediate and proceed with foreclosure,” Proia said.

GMAC also declined a request from ProPublica to interview Stephan.

Another GMAC document obtained by ProPublica shows that in at least one recent incident, GMAC employees were still discussing the possibility of fabricating evidence needed to facilitate a foreclosure.

The company once again lacked a document that would show it had been assigned the mortgage. Since the lender was defunct and no assignment had ever been made, GMAC again seemed to be stuck. But the employee proposed in June of this year that GMAC file a sworn statement that the assignment had once existed but had been lost. It’s unclear if such an affidavit was ultimately provided to a court.

Records also show that GMAC has continued to rely on documents signed by the very employee at the center of the robo-signing scandal—Jeffrey Stephan, the same employee who also signed the Ameriquest document in 2010. Stephan acknowledged in sworn testimony last year that he had been signing 400 documents each day [9], a revelation that helped kick off the scandal. According to a former employee and a consumer attorney, Stephan still works at GMAC, though he has been transferred to a different unit.

GMAC said it is still pursuing foreclosures based on assignments signed by Stephan. As part of a bid to rebrand itself, GMAC renamed its holding company Ally Financial last year.

“There is no reason or requirement to ‘withdraw’ valid assignments of mortgage that happened to have been signed by Mr. Stephan,” said GMAC spokeswoman Proia, because there’s “no requirement that [the assignment] be signed by a person with knowledge of any particular facts.” All that mattered, she said, was that the signer had received the proper authority.

Banks have little reason to worry about their documents being challenged, since homeowners rarely contest foreclosure actions. In a filing with the New Jersey Supreme Court, GMAC said that of the more than 4,000 foreclosures it has handled in the state only about 4 percent of homeowners had contested the action.

When homeowners do challenge banks’ documentation for foreclosures, they can have success. Late last week, the Vermont Supreme Court threw out a foreclosure case handled by GMAC due, in part, to a flawed assignment document signed by Stephan.

“It is neither irrational nor wasteful to expect the foreclosing party be actually in possession of its claimed interest,” the court said [10], “and have the proper supporting documentation in hand when filing suit.”

Since last fall, GMAC has added staff, increased training and added new procedures, said Proia. But some of those new hires have come from firms themselves accused of filing false foreclosure documents.

One manager at GMAC, Kevin Crecco, moved there from a position at the Law Offices of David Stern in Florida after the firm drew scrutiny from the state’s attorney general for allegedly filing forged documents. Stern’s office, once among Florida’s biggest foreclosure law firms and labeled a “foreclosure mill” by critics, ceased operations earlier this year.

An internal organization chart [11] from this spring for GMAC’s foreclosure department lists Crecco as a manager overseeing roughly two dozen employees. GMAC declined to make Crecco available for an interview. He hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing.

Mortgage servicers like GMAC continue to be set up like assembly lines, with members of its “Document Execution” team responsible for signing documents. The organizational chart shows two “Document Execution” teams of 13 employees each.

The employees are tasked with, among other things, signing affidavits attesting to the accuracy of the basic facts of the loan, such as the mortgage amount, outstanding fees, etc. Affidavits are a necessary step to foreclosure in many states where banks have to go to court to seize a home.

During the robo-signing scandal, GMAC admitted that employees signing affidavits didn’t verify the underlying facts. The bank says it has fixed the problems.

But consumer attorneys said that while GMAC’s processes have improved, they haven’t corrected basic flaws with their process.

Cox, the attorney who questioned Stephan last year as part of a foreclosure case, said employees on the “Document Execution” team still aren’t truly checking the accuracy of the underlying information. Rather than digging for the original documents, employees on the team look at the numbers given by a GMAC database and double-check the math.

If the employee “just looks at a computer screen, that’s not sufficient in my view,” said Cox. He said he would soon be challenging affidavits GMAC recently filed in court.

Consumer attorneys also said the systems that servicers rely on are consistently plagued with inaccuracies, making a more thorough verification of the information necessary. “These days, homeowners are being forced to save every receipt, every letter, every statement, so that one day they can prove that their payment history is accurate and the bank is wrong,” said Jim Kowalski, a consumer attorney in Florida.

GMAC’s Proia said the company’s procedures—which amount to a review of information in the company’s computerized databases—were sufficient to file affidavits.

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



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INDYMAC FED. BANK FSB v. GARCIA | NYSC Vacates Default JDGMT “Robo-Signer, Fraudulent Erica Johnson-Seck Affidavit”

INDYMAC FED. BANK FSB v. GARCIA | NYSC Vacates Default JDGMT “Robo-Signer, Fraudulent Erica Johnson-Seck Affidavit”


2011 NY Slip Op 31748(U)

INDYMAC FEDERAL BANK FSB, Plaintiff,

v.

WILFREDO GARCIA, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS, INC., AS NOMINEE FOR INDYMAC BANK F.S.B., CRIMINAL COURT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF TAXATION AND FINANCE, CITY OF NEW YORK ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL BOARD, CITY OF NEW YORK PARKING VIOLATIONS BUREAU, and John Doe, Jane Doe, Defendants.

20049/08, Motion Cal. No. 12, Motion Seq. No. 5.

Supreme Court, Queens County.

June 23, 2011.

BERNICE D. SIEGAL, Judge.

EXCERPTS:

Approximately ten months after the stipulation was entered into, Plaintiff set a new sale date of February 18, 2011. Defendant Garcia now moves for an order seeking to vacate the terms of the stipulation, vacate the default judgment and renew the original order to show cause, predominantly upon the grounds that the Affidavit of Amount Due is signed by Erica A. Johnson-Seck, (hereinafter Johnson-Seck”) Vice-President, an alleged “Robo-Signer.”

[…]

Garcia moves for an order to renew its original order to show cause which sought to vacate the default judgment based on alleged fraud on behalf of the plaintiff. (CPLR §5015(a)(3).) Garcia asserts that the recent discovery of alleged fraud in the preparation of Plaintiff’s affidavit to secure the Judgment of Foreclosure and Sale is sufficient basis to renew it’s prior order to show cause to vacate the default judgment.

Garcia asserts that Johnson-Seck is a confirmed robo-signer as evidenced by recent published decisions. (See Onewest Bank, F.S.B. v Drayton, 29 Misc 3d 1021 [Sup.Ct. Kings County 2010]; see also Indymac Bank, FSB v. Bethley, 22 Misc.3d 1119(A) [Sup.Ct. Kings County 2009].) “A `robo-signer’ is a person who quickly signs hundreds or thousands of foreclosure documents in a month, despite swearing that he or she has personally reviewed the mortgage documents and has not done so.” (Onewest Bank, F.S.B. v Drayton, 29 Misc 3d 1021 [Sup.Ct. Kings County 2010].)

Plaintiff, in opposition, does not refute defendant’s assertion that Johnson-Seck is a “robo-signer,” rather, Plaintiff asserts that accusations regarding Johnson-Seck were made public prior to the execution of the aforementioned stipulation, dated March 24, 2010, and therefore any alleged fraud or mistake was known or knowable to defendant’s attorney. “The requirement that a motion for renewal be based upon newly-discovered facts is a flexible one, and a court, in its discretion, may grant renewal upon facts known to the moving party at the time of the original motion.” (Karlin v. Bridges, 172 A.D.2d 644 [2nd Dept 1991].) Even if the court assumes that Garcia’s counsel, David Fuster, Esq., should have known of Johnson-Seck’s “robo-signing,” it is still not a complete defense to Garcia’s motion. Accordingly, Garcia’s motion to renew is granted.

Vacate Default Judgment and Stipulation

Upon renewal this court vacates the prior default judgment dated February 23, 2009, and the stipulation dated March 24, 2010.

CPLR § 3215(f) states:

On any application for judgment by default, the applicant shall file … proof of the facts constituting the claim, the default and the amount due by affidavit made by the party.

Plaintiff submits a “reverified” Affidavit of Charlotte Warwick (hereinafter “Warwick”) attesting that the principal amount due on Garcia’s loan is $472,326.52. Plaintiff contends that the Warwick affidavit cures the fraudulent Affidavit of Amount Due submitted by Johnson-Seck. However, the Judgment of Foreclosure and aforementioned Stipulation, dated March 24, 2010, where all signed under the assumption that the plaintiff had originally submitted non-fraudulent documentation. So while the fraudulent Affidavit of Amount Due may be a curable defect, the court cannot ignore the fact that the papers supporting the Judgment of Foreclosure and Sale and aforementioned stipulation were fraudulent.

In addition, a default judgment obtained through “extrinsic fraud,” which is “a fraud practiced in obtaining a judgment such that a party may have been prevented from fully and fairly litigating the matter” does not require the defendant to prove a reasonable excuse for such default. (Bank of New York v. Lagakos, 27 A.D.3d 678 [2nd Dept 2006] citing Shaw v. Shaw, 97 A.D.2d 403 [2nd Dept 1983].)

Furthermore, the court is concerned by Plaintiff’s position that the “events he (Garcia) complains of… make no factual difference to the amount he owes on his mortgage.” The statement is alarming as it implies that the court should ignore fraud when the fraud may not be directly relevant to the outcome of the particular case. The court requires an Affidavit of Amount Due and that requirement cannot be satisfied by submitting a fraudulent affidavit. (Indymac Bank, FSB v. Bethley, 22 Misc.3d 1119 [Sup.Ct. Kings County 2009] [prior to granting an application for an order of reference, the Court required an affidavit from Ms. Johnson-Seck, describing her employment history for the past three years].) Plaintiff has failed to deny defendant’s contention that the Johnson-Seck document was fraudulent. Therefore, the Plaintiff failed to submit “proof of the facts constituting the claim, the default and the amount due by affidavit made by the party” as required by CPLR §3215(f).

However, before the judgment on default can be vacated, the settlement stipulation must be vitiated.”Only where there is cause sufficient to invalidate a contract, such as fraud, collusion, mistake or accident, will a party be relieved from the consequences of a stipulation made during litigation” (Hallock v. State, 64 N.Y.2d 224 (1984.) “It is the party seeking to set aside the stipulation … who has the burden of showing that the agreement was the result of fraud.” (Sweeney v. Sweeney, 71 A.D.3d 989 [2nd Dept 2010].) As noted earlier, the fraud perpetrated by the Plaintiff had a domino effect that lead Garcia ultimately to enter into the stipulation. Garcia entered into the agreement on March 24, 2010 to avoid an immediate foreclosure he believed was obtained legally. Accordingly, Garcia has sufficiently established his burden by showing that he would not have entered the stipulation had he known that the Affidavit in support of the default judgment (vacated herein) was fraudulent.

Based on the foregoing, Garcia’s motion is granted to the extent of granting renewal and upon renewal granting the order to show cause dated August 27, 2009 vacating the default judgment of foreclosure and sale entered by this court on or about February 23, 2009 and the stipulation dated March 24, 2010 is declared null and void.

[…]

After you read the brief below, check out more on Ms. Johnson-Seck

Full Deposition Of ERICA JOHNSON SECK Former Fannie Mae, WSB Employee

[NYSC] Judge Finds Issues With “NOTE AMOUNTS”, Robo Signer “ROGER STOTTS” Affidavit: ONEWEST v. GARCIA

[NYSC] JUDGE SCHACK TAKES ON ROBO-SIGNER ERICA JOHNSON SECK: DEUTSCHE BANK v. MARAJ (1) (64.591)

[NYSC] JUDGE SCHACK TAKES ON ROBO-SIGNER ERICA JOHNSON SECK: DEUTSCHE BANK v. HARRIS (2) (70.24)

[NYSC] JUDGE SCHACK TAKES ON ROBO-SIGNER ERICA JOHNSON SECK: ONEWEST BANK v. DRAYTON (3)

Wall Street Journal: Foreclosure? Not So Fast

ONEWEST BANK ‘ERICA JOHNSON-SECK’ ‘Not more than 30 seconds’ to sign each foreclosure document

INDYMAC’S/ONEWEST FORECLOSURE ‘ROBO-SIGNERS’ SIGNED 24,000 MORTGAGE DOCUMENTS MONTHLY

WM_Deposition_of_Erica_Johnson-Seck_Part_I

Deposition_of_Erica_Johnson-Seck_Part_II

Yep, she signs for FDIC too!


[ipaper docId=59328304 access_key=key-2b848aadh4jpp9xz8vzi height=600 width=600 /]

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GMAC appeal coming to Maine Supreme Court

GMAC appeal coming to Maine Supreme Court


The Morning Sentinel-

A landmark legal case that spotlighted mishandled foreclosures by some of the country’s major lenders is likely to come before Maine’s highest court in September.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court is expected to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling involving the mortgage servicer GMAC and its foreclosure practices.

Last September, a Maine District Court judge found that a GMAC official had signed a sworn statement supporting the foreclosure of a home owned by Nicolle Bradbury of Denmark, who had lost her job and stopped making mortgage payments. The official, however, hadn’t actually reviewed Bradbury’s foreclosure documents before signing.

Continue reading [THE MORNING SENTINEL]

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CHASE BANK v. GERGIS | NY Civ. Court “ROBO-TESTIMONY, WAMU, CREDIT-CARD DEBT” Dismissed w/ PREJUDICE

CHASE BANK v. GERGIS | NY Civ. Court “ROBO-TESTIMONY, WAMU, CREDIT-CARD DEBT” Dismissed w/ PREJUDICE


Decided on June 15, 2011

Civil Court of The City of New York, Kings County


Chase Bank USA, N.A.

against

Shady A. Gergis

EXCERPTS:

UNDERLYING FACTS:

For its first witness, plaintiff called Martin Lavergne, who worked for CHASE BANK USA, N.A.(“Chase”) in various roles over a period of approximately 17 years. Presently, he holds the title of “custodian of records.” While Mr. Lavergne maintained that he had personal knowledge of the practices and procedures that Chase utilized in creating and maintaining consumer credit card account records, he never described these practices and procedures and never testified as to how he acquired personal knowledge of them.

[…]

Notably, some of the records that were shown to Mr. Lavergne were apparently created by Washington Mutual Bank. Mr. Lavergne explained this by stating that at some point in time, Chase had acquired Washington Mutual Bank. No testimony was elicited from Mr. Lavergne that he had worked for Washington Mutual Bank or that he had personal knowledge of the practices and procedures that Washington Mutual Bank employed in creating and maintaining consumer credit card account records.

[…]

Here, Mr. Lavergne’s foundational testimony was essentially a verbatim recitation of the statutory elements set forth in CPLR 4518[a]. He gave absolutely no testimony as to how the electronic records concerning defendant’s account statements came into existence nor did he indicate that he even knew how such information was collected. It would appear that credit card statements contain information that is conveyed from multiple entities, from the reporting merchant through various intermediaries, until the information is ultimately incorporated into plaintiff’s business records (see Discover Bank v Williamson, 2007 NY Slip Op 50231[U] [App Term, 9th and 10th Jud Dists]). Certainly, Mr. Lavergne did not demonstrate that the person or persons who inputted the electronic data had actual knowledge of the events inputted or that such person or persons obtained knowledge of those events from someone with actual knowledge of them and who had a business duty to relay information regarding the events (see Corsi v Town of [*4]Bedford, 58 AD3d 225, 229 [2d Dept 2008]; Capasso v Kleen All of America, Inc., 43 AD3d at 1347).

[…]

Further, Mr. Lavergne’s testimony was highly suspect. As stated above, some of the records that plaintiff sought to introduce into evidence through the testimony of Mr. Lavergne were apparently prepared by Washington Mutual Bank. The foundational testimony given by Mr. Lavergne concerning these records was identical to the foundational testimony he gave concerning the Chase records. It is well settled law that in order for a witness to lay the foundation for the admission of a document as a business record pursuant to CPLR 4518[a], the witness must demonstrate personal knowledge of the business practices and procedures pursuant to which the document was made (see Reiss v Roadhouse Rest., 70 AD3d 1021, 1025 [2d Dept 2010]; Lodato v Greyhawk N. Am., LLC, 39 AD3d 494, 495 [2d Dept 2007]; Vento v City of New York, 25 AD3d 329, 330 [1st Dept 2006]; Dayanim v Unis, 171 AD2d 579 [1st Dept 1991]; Midborough Acupuncture, P.C. v New York Cent. Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 2006 NY Slip Op 51879[U] [App. Term, 2d & 11th Jud Dists]). Because Mr. Lavergne never worked for Washington Mutual Bank, it defies logic that he would have personal knowledge of Washington Mutual Bank’s business practices and procedures. For these reasons, the Court gives Mr. Lavergne’s “robo-testimony” and plaintiffs’ no weight or credit (People v Barrett, 14 AD3d 369 [1st Dept 2005]; see also Washington Mut. Bank v Phillip, 2010 NY Slip Op 52034[U] [Sup Ct, Kings County]).

[…]

In sum, the offered “robo-testimony” was insufficient to establish its case by a preponderance of the credible evidence. [*5]

Based on the above, it is hereby

ORDERED that judgment be entered in favor of defendant SHADY A. GERGIS and against plaintiff CHASE BANK USA, N.A. and that plaintiff’s complaint be DISMISSED with prejudice on the merits.

The foregoing constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court.

[ipaper docId=58601475 access_key=key-13b7jr4qpkf19xlbsusy height=600 width=600 /]

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Georgia Offical Vows To Investigate Notary Misuse Claims

Georgia Offical Vows To Investigate Notary Misuse Claims


WSBTV-

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — Fulton County’s clerk of court said homeowners from across the country have filed complaints questioning the credentials of notaries who signed their mortgage documents.

Cathelene “Tina” Robinson said she’s already revoked certifications from several of the notaries involved.

“As a notary, your job is to prevent fraud,” said Robinson, who commissions all of Fulton County’s notaries.

continue reading [WSBTV]


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Deborah Brignac’s Changing Signature

Deborah Brignac’s Changing Signature


Who is Deborah Brignac?

 

[click link below]

BREAKING: Sarah Palin, Your New AZ Home Robo-Signed… Again, Meet Deborah Brignac

[ipaper docId=57500518 access_key=key-24g66uu6crot12mqdfkb height=600 width=600 /]

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READ | Essex County, MA John O’Brien Rejection Letter & Affidavit re: M.G.L. c. 266 § 35A

READ | Essex County, MA John O’Brien Rejection Letter & Affidavit re: M.G.L. c. 266 § 35A


Highlight of these incredible documents:

MGL Chapter 266, Section 35A (b) (4) provides that:

“Whoever intentionally: files or causes to be filed with a registrar of deeds any document that contains a material statement that is false or a material omission, knowing such document to contain a material statement that is false or a material omission, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years or by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2 and one-half years or by a fine of not more than $10,000 in the case of a natural person or not more than $100,000 in the case of any other person, or by both such fine and imprisonment.”

Once the Affidavit is prepared and notarized, please forward it and your Recording to my attention with a recording fee of $75 for each document, and I will make sure the documents are put on record forthwith.

[…]

[ipaper docId=57341453 access_key=key-d99wdhhax2y6o3lamab height=600 width=600 /]

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Robo-Signing Continues On Key Land Records In North Carolina

Robo-Signing Continues On Key Land Records In North Carolina


HuffPO-

When banks were caught improperly signing off on foreclosure documents last fall, consumer advocates and property rights experts hoped the public outcry would force the companies to change their foreclosure processing systems to ensure that meaningful document reviews were conducted and wrongful foreclosures were prevented.

But in at least one county in North Carolina, banks have responded by exploiting a filing loophole that has allowed them to continue signing off on key documents en masse, according to a local official.

Come back and check these two links below…

MERS Signing Agreements /Corporate Resolutions Signed Using Stamps

~

ARE MERS’ SIGNATURES ON DOCUMENTS REAL or SCANNED DUPLICATES?

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MERS VP | 27 Job Titles for Brian Burnett of IndyMac

MERS VP | 27 Job Titles for Brian Burnett of IndyMac


Brian Burnett has signed mortgage documents using the job titles listed below during the approximate same period of time. All of these were notarized in Travis County, Texas, where IndyMac Mortgage Services is located. IndyMac Mortgage Services is now a division of One West Bank.

A certified signer for Mortgage electronic Registration Systems, Inc. was authorized to sign on behalf of the affiliated mortgage entity that employed him. Burnett, for example, would have been authorized to sign as an officer of MERS, as nominee for IndyMac Bank.

MERS signers were never authorized to sign on behalf of all other lenders.

[ipaper docId=53758521 access_key=key-vakbq9sniymd894p23c height=600 width=600 /]

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FL Process Server Alleges Her Signatures Were Forged

FL Process Server Alleges Her Signatures Were Forged


Palm Beach Post- Kimberly Miller

West Palm Beach resident Liz Mills learned she was a robo-signer when a friend suggested she search her own name online.

On foreclosure blogs and in at least one newspaper article, the 51-year-old process server was singled out for the numerous and varying styles of her signatures on summons paperwork used to prove her efforts in locating home­owners in foreclosure.

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NY TIMES | In A Mortgage Case, a 7-Year Wait for 2 Answers

NY TIMES | In A Mortgage Case, a 7-Year Wait for 2 Answers


2 things pop right out. 1. As you read this article, think of the NJ case Kemp v. Countrywide involving Linda DiMartini “Notes were never delivered”, 2. Were they waiting on something to possibly happen dragging this out long enough? Just makes you wonder…thats all.

Waiting Seven Years for Two Answers

By GRETCHEN MORGENSON
Published: February 26, 2011

WHEN Zella Mae Green of Georgia filed for bankruptcy to save her home from foreclosure in 2004, she and her lawyer wanted to know two things: Did she actually owe any back payments on her mortgage? And, if so, to whom?

It didn’t seem like a lot to ask. But until last week, those questions had been unanswered for seven years.

Mortgages are complicated to begin with, of course. But when homeowners fall behind on their payments, the situation becomes far more complicated. Recurring fees and charges muddle the accounting. That banks routinely transfer the notes underlying a property can make things cloudier still.

Continue reading… NYTIMES

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